Well after a few months of sailing it's time to get my bum down and fingers typing. The writting doesn't come naturally too me as anyone can tell after reading my blog a little. But I'll try and make it more interesting by posting more photos and less words! So after a few months hanging around Tahiti, Raiatea, Huahine and Moorea it was time to head back up to the Tuamotos. On the way past last year in August we totally missed the Tuamotos so on the return this year I felt it was a must to head back and check these massive group of atolls out. And we were stoked we did.
We got off to a great start once we headed out from Tahiti. There was heaps of breeze and we were sitting on high teens. The rhumb line took us just to the North of Tahiti where there is a huge area of no wind. We struggled thru it in light airs with the big reacher up and then after about 40nm of slow going we were off again for an awesome nights sailing.
The next day brought light airs just on the beam and with it we made great time. We covered the 220nm in just over 24hrs getting into Toau just after dusk with a full moon. It was an easy entrance into Toau as it's a false entrance which means you don't get the massive flow of water exiting the lagoon. As being like a small cove it's also really sheltered and calm once inside.
There are two local families that live on the motus here and from what we learnt they are both sister whom live there with their families and their children. Valentine and Gaston have a small home with a jetty and welcome yachts to there shores. They also hold dinners every few days where yacht crews can come ashore for a very reasonable fee to have dinner. We found it a great way to meet the yachts in the bay and to also try some great local food.
Valentine and Gaston have also put in some moorings that your more than welcome to use. We love moorings on Spirit as we have no anchor winch so were happy to sit on one of there moorings. We had heard nothing bad about them and after a quick swim to check the condition we felt fairly safe. We'd never leave the boat though should there be imminent weather on the horizon or forecast.
Gaston was an awesome cook along with Valentine the best host and chef in the Tuamotos. They caught fresh catch each day and this comprised of mainly parrot fish, lobster, and anything they caught outside the lagoon at dusk when trawling like GT's and Barracuda.
After a few days hanging out in Toau it was time to head south to Fakarava, which we renamed ratherfaka ;-) the weather looked nice and light to sail there. And it was from the NE and light, which isn't so often at this time of year. So we made the most headed out early in the morning and had another awesome sail down along the coast sailing close to the reefs edge as we were sailing along in the lee of the reef, nice flat and fast conditions for Spirit. She reveled in the conditions and we made such good time we decided to head straight down through Fakarava and to the south pass where we wanted to do some diving.
The sail down inside the lagoon was very cool. We had super flat water and about 10-15kts of breeze. It died out about two thirds the way down and from there on we motored filling the water tanks and enjoying the view.
Once we had arrived we found a little motu and snuck right in behind it. It was just about full moon and we had an awesome dinner and a few nice cold beers to top the day off.
The next day we were up early. We had made plans to meet some friends that we meet during the TPR a few months earlier. They had told us about the south pass in Fakarava and how once a year the cod here spawn and it's an amazing sight to see.
John and I weren't disappointed one bit. It was awesome! fish all over the place and sharks trying to eat them non-stop. Crazy and if your ever there it's a must to see. We spent a few days here relaxing and taking things in. As we had such a great time in Toau it was decided to head back there and not to go onto Rangiroa as we earlier planed.
We took off from the south pass sailed up to the northern end of Fakarava where the main town was to have look around a bit and see what we could find. It's a pretty sleepy little place with not much going on at all. There is some small hotels and pensions but nothing much at all. Great for getting away from it all!
Early the following day it was a blast out from Fakarava and onto Toau again to stop off for a few days with Valentine and Gaston. Sitting on 12-16kts John's face was just a huge smile. I couldn't get him off the tiller it was so cool. Spirit sprinted past a few monos that had departed earlier, with water going over head like we were about to dive like a submarine it was a wet and wild ride up the western side of Toau.
Once back in the safe and calm anchorage of Toau it was time for a hard earned beer and some laughs with our new friends Valerie and Gaston. A late night ashore and plans to head out the following day with her sister and their family meant we were a bit bleary eyed the next day.
Valerie and Gaston also showed us how they farm pearls. We bought a few as well while there. On the main Island of Tahiti they are far more expensive for good quality ones. It was nice to get some from our new friends, which gave them a little.
We spent six hours the following day snorkelling around the atoll edge looking for sea cucumbers. It was one of the highlights to spend the day with Valeries sister swimming up and down the atoll edge where it drops off to nothing hundreds of meters down. We had sharks, large pelagic fish and all kinds swimming along side with us. Turtles often swam past in the crystal clear water just meters away, it was surreal and so cool to see how the locals lived and fished.
After another three days relaxing and chilling out it was time to head back to Raiatea where John had a date with a plane and had to fly back to Spain for the upcoming regatta season where he worked racing yachts. I was sad to be seeing him go but the nearly three months he had onboard were some of the best sailing we had had with Spirit and it had been great to have him with us for such a long period.